How To Smooth a Rejected Job Applicant’s Feathers

by Mikal E. Belicove

How To Smooth a Rejected Job Applicants Feathers

To follow-up on our recent post about do’s and don’ts of using social media to screen new hires, when your company uses social media channels to both source and screen new talent, you must consider that your applicants can turn right around and use those same channels to your disadvantage. In other words, if you screw up the interview process or treat job seekers with disregard or disrespect, you could find yourself the target of a rash of unwanted publicity.

For this reason, it’s most important to capture and promote good feedback from candidates who apply for a job with your company, says Lisa Chartier, U.S. head of resourcing communications for Alexander Mann Solutions, a provider of recruitment process outsourcing solutions. Her firm just published Candidates, Consumers and Your Global Brand, a white paper looking at the impact of the job candidate’s experience on consumer perceptions of businesses and brands.

If a job candidate is treated poorly during the interview process, your company risks alienating a customer — a potential evangelist of your product or service. The AMS white paper claims such ill-treated job candidates are more than willing to share their tale of woe online, and, as we know, social networking enables them to do so quickly, reaching a large number of people with the click of a button.

Specifically, the report says that 77 percent of job seekers are likely to tell people either within their profession or friends (or both) if they have a negative experience when applying for a job. And 52 percent say a bad interview would likely influence their buying decisions from that organization in the future. Only 10 percent of job applicants say such an unpleasant experience would not affect their opinion of the company.

The best-of-all-worlds solution, of course, is to make sure applicants leave the hiring process with their heads held high to ensure continued loyalty or, at the very least, apathy toward your company and brand.

Chartier says organizations need to remember that positive feedback doesn’t travel far on its own, so it’s important to capture and promote good feedback from job candidates. For example, you could post quantitative data on the careers page of your website from candidate feedback surveys, developing statistics like “95 percent of job candidates say the application process was positive and constructive.”

You should also coddle your applicants. “Email the ones who aren’t hired and tell them the position has been filled by someone who fits the role perfectly — and then tell them why,” says Chartier. She suggests letting them know what areas you’d like to see them improve, which gives the unsuccessful applicant a feeling that they’re still connected to your organization and that you really were paying attention during the interview process.

And if you’ve narrowed the field down to two or three candidates, send the losing applicants sample products, a thank you note, and an invitation to stay in touch for future opportunities.

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